I completed my MA at the University of Toronto in 1990 and my PhD at the University of Chicago in 1996. After graduation, I had a post-doctoral fellowship at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington DC, after which I taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Calgary and the University of Teesside before coming to Leeds in 1999. My interest in Russian history owes a lot to the excellent lecturers I had in my undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. But my interest was also driven by the opening of the archives after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are millions of files waiting to be explored and a lifetime of discoveries waiting to be made.
I am the author of
The Great Urals: Regionalism and the Evolution of the Soviet System (1999)
Stalin's World: Dictating the Soviet Order, with Sarah Davies (2015)
and most recently
The Great Fear: Stalin's Terror of the 1930s (2016)
My other publications include:
"The Regions and the Rise of the Gulag: Forced Labour in the Urals Oblast', 1929-1931," The Russian Review, (April, 1997).
“The Purging of Local Cliques in the Urals Region, 1936-7” in Sheila Fitzpatrick ed., Stalinism: New Directions, (Routledge, London, 1999), pp. 262-285.
"Dual Subordination? The Political Police and the Party in the Urals Region, 1918-1953" in Cahiers du Monde Russe 42 (2-4) 2001, pp. 423-446.
"Resisting the Plan in the Urals, 1928-1956, Or Why Regional Officials Needed 'Wreckers' and 'Saboteurs'" in Lynne Viola ed., Contending with Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance in the 1930s (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.: 2002): 201-227.
“Was Stalin a Weak Dictator” Journal of Modern History (June 2003).